(WASHINGTON) — Popular self-help author and speaker Marianne Williamson — the first notable candidate for the 2024 Democratic primary and challenger to President Joe Biden’s presumed reelection bid — issued a pointed rebuttal on Tuesday to White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre jokingly dismissing her candidacy.
During a press briefing on Monday, Jean-Pierre was asked about but said she was “just not tracking” Williamson’s campaign, which formally launched Saturday.
“I mean, if I had a — what’s it called — a little, little globe here … a crystal ball, that I could tell you, a Magic 8 Ball or whatever, if I could feel her aura — I just, I just don’t have it. I just don’t have anything to share on that,” Jean-Pierre said to laughter in the briefing room.
“Gosh, you guys are making me laugh now,” she said then.
Williamson, in a response video posted on Twitter, said: “I was so sad to see the commentary of the president’s press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, about me, about crystal balls, which I’ve never spoken or written about, and auras, which I’ve never spoken or written about, and just speaking so derisively and in such mocking terms about someone who is running for president of the United States and as a woman, and this is the Democratic Party.”
“I have a constitutional right to run, and my candidacy is about substantive issues and policies,” she said.
Considered a long-shot candidate after a failed bid for the White House in 2020 and Congress in 2014, Williamson told ABC News’ Chief Washington Correspondent Jonathan Karl during an exclusive interview for ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday that she doesn’t see her bid as a challenge to Biden — but as “challenging a system.”
She repeated that view on Tuesday.
“I have made it clear in interview after interview that the president is a nice man and that I have no interest in taking personal potshots. But apparently the White House, or at least as expressed by Karine, doesn’t share my commitment to the high ground,” she said.
She then referenced a notable remark from Biden when he first assumed office after unseating former President Donald Trump. At the time, Biden warned his senior aides at a virtual swearing-in ceremony against disrespect while encouraging decency, something he said had been “missing in a big way the last four years.”
“But I am not joking when I say this: If you are ever working with me and I hear you treat another colleague with disrespect … talk down to someone, I promise you I will fire you on the spot,” Biden said then. “On the spot. No ifs, ands or buts. Everybody … everybody is entitled to be treated with decency and dignity.”
Williamson said in her video on Tuesday that didn’t want Jean-Pierre to lose “her job over this” but that the remarks were indicative of larger attitudes.
“I do hope that from now on this low, derisive, this narrative about me … it just obviously meant to get me out of the conversation,” she said.
“I hope that everyone who is watching realizes this is not just about me. They’re not just telling me to get away — like flick her off like a mosquito. It’s about you. It’s about anyone who, first of all, I think that has faith and takes faith seriously. Or is it just about any woman who speaks out of turn? I don’t know. That’s for you to decide,” she said.
Karl asked Williamson on Sunday about media coverage of her in 2020, noting she was previously labeled as “anti-science, anti-vax [and] a crystal lady” and asking how Democrats should view her candidacy this time around.
She described herself as an “FDR Democrat.”
Her signature 2020 proposals included reparations for slavery and the creation of a Department of Peace and Department of Children and Youth while also supporting progressive policies like universal health care and free college — issues she has again centered in her nascent 2024 run.
“I am a Democrat,” Williamson told Karl. “I’m old enough to remember a time when the Democratic Party more than not, did make an unequivocal stance. … [T]he Democratic Party needs to be a conduit for the healing of this country,” she continued. “But first, the Democratic Party needs to look in the mirror and heal itself.”
ABC News’ Cheyenne Haslett, Meghan Mistry and Brittany Shepherd contributed to this report.
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